Young Justice #1 / Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Patrick Gleason / Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez / Lettering: DC Lettering / Publisher: DC Comics / Release Date: January 9th, 2019
Teenage superheroes are once again on the rise. With Marvel releasing an excellent debut issue of Champions, DC steps up to the plate this week by introducing a new Young Justice comic by the creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and Patrick Gleason (Action Comics). Metropolis is invaded by the forces of Gemworld, who are intent on battling Superman. But with the Man of Steel absent, several teenage heroes rise up to confront the invaders, including Robin (Tim Drake), Impulse (Bart Allen), Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark) and the newly resurrected Conner Kent, aka Superboy.
While Bendis’s run on Superman has been fairly hit or miss, he is in his element here. His handling of the YJ members is reminiscent of his time writing Ultimate Spider-Man, and I mean that in the best way. Bendis’s teenagers feel like teenagers, which is a feat most writers struggle to accomplish these days. He is helped in this regard by Gleason, who is one of the best artists working in the business.
Gleason’s art grabs you from the first page and refuses to let go until the very end. His characters are distinct: Robin moves with a ninja’s precision, Impulse literally hops from page to page, and the warriors of Gemworld look like they stepped out of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. The action is fast-paced and has a cinematic flair, with most sequences taking up at least two pages, which is great, considering this is a double-sized issue. Alejandro Sanchez is no slouch either, bringing Gleason’s art to life with eye-popping colors.
In addition to the original YJ line up, we are introduced to Jinny Hex (the great-great-granddaughter of Western hero Jonah Hex) and a self-proclaimed “Teen Lantern.” Jinny is the character we spend the most time with, and she is a delight. She’s also quite the badass, facing the Gemworld warriors with nothing but a shotgun. Though Cassie, Conner, Teen Lantern, and Princess Amethyst are given the short end of the stick, they all manage to make an impression. In an age where most team books take their sweet time gathering the team together, it’s a relief to see the entire roster more or less assembled in the first issue.
Young Justice #1 is a book I can safely recommend to everyone. Whether you’re new to comics, or if you’re a fan of the Young Justice animated series, this is the book for you. Here’s hoping Bendis and Gleason continue to impress in future issues!
VERDICT: 5 out of 5 sidekicks. Young Justice United!